Nintendo Switch on course to become third highest selling console ever

Kirby And The Forgotten Land and Nintendo Switch Sports have both been bigger than expected hits, even as Switch console sales fall by 23%.

Given the fall in sales reported by both Microsoft and Sony, it was obvious that Nintendo was going to have the same problem with the Switch, since the whole of the games industry is currently experiencing a decline.

That’s in part because of the comedown from the heights of the lockdown, when everyone was stuck inside, but also because of the lack of new games at the moment – which is also a knock-on effect of the pandemic.

As ever, Nintendo’s situation has been different from other hardware manufacturers, as they released very little during the pandemic but have had quiet a busy year so far, and that’s reflected by their financial results.

Between April and June, which is usually a dead period of the year at the best of times, they still managed to have four first party games that sold over a million copies each.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (which is getting new DLC this week) sold another 1.48 million for a lifetime total of 46.82 million, which as impressive as it is has become the expected norm by this point.

On top of this, and despite several attempts to revive Wii Sports in the past, it seems Nintendo Switch Sports is the first to see any major success, with an impressive 4.84 million sales in its first three months.

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football also did surprisingly well, with 1.91 million sales, but it’s Kirby And The Forgotten Land which has been the real surprise, as after decades of middling sales for the series Forgotten Land’s lifetime total is now 4.53 million – with 1.88 million copies sold in the last three months.

Nintendo has an even stronger second half of the year, with the just released Xenoblade Chronicles 3 due to be joined by Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, and Pokémon Scarlet/Violet (Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope counts as a Ubisoft release).

In terms of hardware sales, the Nintendo Switch was down 23% on the same time last year but that still meant 3.43 million consoles sold, for a lifetime total of 111.08 million.

That places it as the fifth best-selling console of all time, ahead of the original PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox 360. It’s also within spitting distance of the PlayStation 4 and Game Boy, which both sit at less than 120 million each, so there’s essentially zero chance it won’t pass them to become the third biggest ever.

The number one and two spots will be harder to reach though, as the Nintendo DS is on 154.02 million and the PlayStation 2 is the best-selling ever at 157.68 million.

Nintendo continues to insist that the Switch will have a 10 year lifespan, and is currently only halfway through that, but despite what they say it still seems very unlikely a new console won’t be released within the next year or two (or maybe three, it is always very hard to tell with Nintendo).

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